After a sell-out run in January this year, BalletBoyz are back on stage at Sadler’s Wells — this time with the war-inspired show Young Men.
The idea for Young Men originated in 2014 when the dance company was commissioned by Channel 4 to do a special short film to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the centenary of the First World War. The performance aims to shed a light on the lives — lost, saved, recovered and often forgotten — of the young men who fought. It succeeds with panache.
BalletBoyz founders Michael Nunn and William Trevitt — supported by top-class choreographer Iván Pérez and music composer and poet Keaton Henson — deliver a piece of physical, emotional, faultless dance that expresses the human condition of fighting a war.
None of this would be possible without the focal point of this performance — the Boyz. The all-male cast ( supported by two female dancers) perform a string of intricate, geometrically-perfect and physically-intense choreographies. Frustration, anger, sadness and impotence are expressed through jumps, kicks, twists and slides.
We can’t stop staring at the perfection of those bodies shifting on the stage. The way these dancers are pushing themselves is tangible, from sweat marks on shirts to the exhausted breaths every time they pause for a second.
The ‘Nightmares’ and ‘Homecoming’ scenes are particularly dramatic. References to the nightmares and shell shock survivors experienced after the war are cleverly expressed, and a solo scene from Andrea Carrucciu — his body contorted and fearful — makes us feel almost uncomfortable.
BalletBoyz have created a dark atmosphere, the stage turned into a no-man’s land where time is lost forever. With scenes enriched by the deep, misty score of Henson and his orchestra, we lose track of time too. The performance is over before we know it.